1. A sleeping mask and earplugs. Remember: This is no longer just your room. There will be nights where your roommate has to stay up late to get that paper done or decides to clean her side of the room at 2 in the morning. Trust me when I say, earplugs and a sleeping mask may become your new sleeping buddy! Also, Melatonin (natural sleeping regimen) definitely got me through some of those “Wide-Awake-Katy-Perry-Style” nights.
2. A Brita water filter. College campuses have student groups all about going green so why not help out? I’m not a huge fan of drinking water out of the sink so this definitely helps out!
3. Rain boots! It doesn’t matter where you choose to go to school. There will be days where it is cold and rainy out and you’re going to wish you had some water-resistant, knee-deep rain boots to keep you warm and dry. Also, umbrellas… are just wonderful.
4. Extension cords. Dorm rooms have few, low-to-the-ground outlets and if you’re like me and have a short phone charger cord, this doesn’t really get you anywhere. Extension cords help you to… you guessed it… extend! Also, power strips are really nice if you need to plug in multiple appliances, etc.
5. Bathrobe and flip-flops. Everyone (we hope) uses the bathrooms and showers at your campus. We don’t know what goes on in there. With that being said, shower flip-flops are a lifesaver. Also, bathrobes allow you to be hands free and you don’t have to worry about your towel falling down while you are walking by the boys’ rooms.
6. Mattress Pad. Honestly, the beds at most campuses are not the most comfy things to sleep on. Mattress pads can easily turn a stiff, rock-hard bed into a soft, luscious cumulus cloud. J
7. Can Opener. Huh… who would’ve thought you’d need this to get your cans of Spaghettios opened? I learned this the hard way.
8. Quarters. Whether you need to do some laundry or catch the bus to the mall, you’re going to want a few quarters around.
9. A stapler. Yes, unfortunately, you are going to have homework that is more than 1 page long. One day, I had 3 guys from my floor come over to my room and ask if I had a stapler. Lucky for them, (and me… cuties! J) I did indeed have one! While we’re on the topic of school supplies, duct tape does wonders!
10. Homesick cuddles. To be honest, there will be days and nights that you may get homesick or stressed. It’s good to have something that you can hold or cuddle with to get you through these rough times. As of right now, I currently have a body pillow, pillow pet, monkey, and panda residing in my bed as well as me. I also brought my favorite blanket, yearbook, and tons of pictures of family and friends. The first 2 weeks of school were extremely hard for me but with the help of these things and a few phone calls home to Mom and Dad, things got so much better!
Ali Houser is a college freshman at The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota majoring in Dental Hygiene. Originally from Beresford, South Dakota, Ali was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of South Dakota for 2012. Learn more about Ali here!